Monday, December 19, 2005

Eisendrath Campaign

(Cross-posted from

As has been long awaited, Edwin Eisendrath announced his candidacy for Governor yesterday, challenging incumbent Governor Rod Blagojevich in the Democratic Primary.

There's a bunch of coverage of it on other blogs and MSM sites, I'm sure, so I'm not going to cover that ground.

I did find something about Eisendrath remarkable, though. As of last evening, I had a grand total of six email messages from his campaign, all about something different, all with some new information. Included in that was a website address (added to the sidebar), the standard press release, a "fact sheet" about the current Governor, as well as a nice hi-res photo of the candidate. To me, it's an indication of the amount of thought and preparation that went into yesterday's announcement: his campaign is already emailing information to bloggers, including this blogger who will be supporting a Republican candidate in April. To me, this indicates an aggressive grassroots campaign, which may be his only hope of beating a very damaged Governor who will have more than $15 million to spend.

Some quotes from the documents:

In an emotional speech to supporters in Chicago today, Edwin Eisendrath laid out an optimistic alternative for Democrats weary of investigations and allegations of ethical lapses in the Blagojevich administration.

“When I am Governor, my first priority will be to restore people’s trust in government. I’ll end the shameful practices we’ve seen these past eight years. You’re going to see something you haven’t seen in Springfield in a while: a government you can be proud of. Anyone who can’t do that in four years doesn’t deserve four more,” Eisendrath said.

Eisendrath, 47, laid out a series of questions he wants answered by Governor Blagojevich.

“Tell us why you raided nearly $2.3 billions from the already under funded pensions of teachers and state workers. Tell us how you plan on paying for the election year giveaways you are announcing daily. Tell us if you will refrain from using contributions raised by appointees to boards and commissions that dole out lucrative contracts and investments. Tell us why you opened the door for Republicans to run against corruption while George Ryan is on trial,” he said.

And from the "fact sheet:"

Only six Governors in the country have worse approval ratings than Blagojevich. Forty-one percent of Democrats disapprove of the Governor’s job. In head to head match-ups, Blagojevich loses the general election to State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and State Senator Steve Rauschsenberger.

At the very least, this is going to be interesting.


Pat Hickey 10:17 AM  

Great Post, IlliniPundit! Edwin has the dough of a Gidwitz and lacks the smarm of Blago.

He is one of those rare 'progressive types;' he does not make me want to bring up my Farina.

While taking on reform in Illinois, voters might want to give Edwin a peek. So long as he keeps 'the long-haired men and short-haired women' - use Carter Harrison's description of "Progressives" at a long arm's length, I will give Mr. Eisendrath's candidacy some due deference.

Bill Baar 10:43 AM  

The Harrison quote is a keeper.

Pat Hickey 11:02 AM  

Dear Bill,

The Dude Mayor was a hoot; however the quote was a common apellation for the progressive temperment and not bound to Illinois alone. In the 19th Century it had common use by uncommon people of quality - like ourselves.


Carl Nyberg 1:42 PM  

I didn't get anything from Eisendrath. Since Blogging Blagos Blunders is still online--although not updated--I would have thought I'd be a natural person to reach out to.

But Eisendrath has my vote. Go get 'em.

Yellow Dog Democrat 6:11 PM  

So, Eisendrath is against AllKids?

47th Ward,  7:43 PM  

Yellow Dog, did I miss something? When did Edwin say he would cut AllKids?

steve schnorf 7:54 PM  

The problem with his "tell us why you raided the pension systems" is that in the same circumstance EE would have had no better answer, because given the circumstances, there was no better answer. I don't care who you are, if you disagree tell me specifically what you would have done differently in each of the Governor's first three budgets.

I am not some rabid supporter of the Governor's, but given his no income/sales tax pledge, Blagojevich was faced with the perfect storm. The only places there were sufficient dollars to balance the budget were in education, human services, amd medicaid. No democrat can propose the draconian cuts that would have been necessary in those programs, but it doesn't matter, because no general assembly in recent memory would have passed them.

Why do you think no Republican has jumped up in the legislature or as a potential gubernatorial candidate and embarassed Blagojevich with a straightforward proposal to balance the state's budget any of the past three years. Because they couldn't!

There is no straightforward answer other than a significant tax increase. They would have been lucky to get a majority of their own party to agree to the kinds of cuts that would have been necessary, and the Governor had already said he would veto a tax increase. Every scenario except a tax increase has us spending money we really don't have, whether thru pension bonds, fund sweeps, pension payment deferrals, fee increases or whatever.

This isn't a "Blago has done a terrible job" story. This is a story of a terrible problem he inherited, the box he was in with his tax pledge (which I believe he shouldn't break once he made it). Unwilling to propose the cuts that were needed, an understandable position given that he couldn't have passed them anyway, there he (and we) sat.

He could have been more fiscally responsible than he has been, by not expanding programs, instead limiting their growth, but I understand why he didn't. Health care for kids and increased state aid to public schools are things citizens want, and they are getting them. Think of education alone; without his increases public schools would have $2 billion dollars less than they have today.

If he has had a shortcoming budgetarily, it is one shared by the leaderships of the House and Senate, and that is the unwillingness to force the citizenry to accept the fact that you have to pay for what you want, and if you aren't willing to pay more you have to want and accept less. Madigan and Jones would have been willing to pass a tax increase, but it did them no good in the face of a veto threat because they would have needed Republican votes to override.

Jeffrey Isbell 10:15 PM  

I received this email and it says I can forward it to anyone who may be interested:

"As you may have heard former Alderman Edwin Eisendrath will be challenging Governor Rob Blagojevich in the the Democratic Primary for the office of Governor. In light of this the office of the Governor is looking for volunteers to assist with the Democratic Primary Campaign starting tomorrow (December 20th)! The position will involve working 4 hours shifts on various days between December 20-27 verifying signatures in downtown Chicago. This is a great opportunity to make a name for yourself with pivotal individuals in Illinois Government. The work is absolutely essential and could easily lead to internships and jobs opportunities. For more information contact Jordan Smith at 618-534-7726. Call ASAP! Feel free to forward to anyone who may be interested."

Who is Jordan Smith? I don't know if this for sure, but it's a great assumption:
Despite budget deficit, loyalists get new state jobs

Thursday, April 17, 2003
By John O'Connor
The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Rod Blagojevich is tackling the state's huge budget deficit by proposing spending cuts and eliminating jobs, but he still found money to hire campaign workers for new positions.
Blagojevich has carved out $145,000 for three liaisons who work for the state's Corrections and Transportation departments handling residents' questions and complaints.
Anita Decker, 24, makes $55,000 representing Corrections in northwestern Illinois. Jordan Smith, 21, is paid $45,000 as a Carbondale-based liaison for Transportation, as is Kyle Anderson, 24, who works in Collinsville.None has particular expertise in corrections or transportation, but all volunteered for candidate Blagojevich last fall, spokesman Tom Schafer said.

"They're young people who have shown a lot of enthusiasm and worked on the governor's campaign," Schafer said.

Anonymous,  10:16 PM  

He could have been more fiscally responsible than he has been, by not expanding programs, instead limiting their growth, but I understand why he didn't. Health care for kids and increased state aid to public schools are things citizens want, and they are getting them. Think of education alone; without his increases public schools would have $2 billion dollars less than they have today.

When your in hole the first thing you do is quit digging. If your broke quit speding and don't expand programs you can't afford. If Blago would have just held the line on spending increase's and used the increased revenue that came in for inflation increases in spending there would have been no problem balancing the budget. He has expanded healthcare and other programs for his own political purpose's. Don't blame the budget from 3 years ago how long does he need to fix it.

Anonymous,  11:04 PM  

jeffry isbell:

I think Jordon Smith is the daughter of labor Ed Smith of Cairo. That would make sense but that may not be correct. I am sure there are other Jordan Smiths out there but my bet is this is one and the same as the job was created for at IDOT listed on another post. Ed-win filed 10,000 signatures only needing 5,000 because he knew Madigan and crew are scared to death of a reform minded candidate. I hope they call to verify my signature, I'm waiting to give them an ear full. This is the same old tired group of crooks that hopefully people in Illinois are getting fed up with. Does anyone think RGod has any clue as to why he has a primary?

Pat Hickey 10:34 AM  

"The Tired old crooks," again! Damn them tired old crooks! Damn them to Hell!!!

Take a breath, son, and go easy on that keg. Madigan is not scared to death of anyone. I don't think that the thought of an Ed-Win candidacy causes him, or do you mean her, to have an accident.

Ed-Win is rolling; its going to be a long campaign; now, save some for the last fifty yards. Feeling better? Good.

Anonymous,  2:14 PM  

pat hickey

Thanks for the friendly advice, and to think some folks pay big bucks to get what I just got for free. I'm just one of the 45,000 or so state employees who are upset to say the least about our pension dip. I do believe in holding that best shot though until I can see the whites of their eyes so you ain't seen nothin'yet, it gets better. The comment about Madigan I suppose could be transgender, thanks for that idea. If the shoe fits, Cinderella (Mike/Lisa) wear it! I do feel better though so thanks for your advice!

Pat Hickey 3:18 PM  

My pleasure. Fight a good fight.

Carl Nyberg 4:29 PM  

I got emails from Eisendrath.

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